First, some facts.
- For every additional second that your website takes to load, the bounce rate increases.
- Google, w.e.f from its May 2021 update, will lay more emphasis on Core Web Vitals for SERP rankings. Core Web Vitals include site load speed.
- A study suggested 79% of customers won’t buy again from a site if the web performance (primarily load speed) dissatisfied them.
- Website users expect URLs to load within 3 seconds or less.
- Crazyegg experiments discovered that a one-second increase in page load speed increases conversions by 7%. One second of delay results in an 11% loss of page views.
- Slow page load speed also adversely affects Google Adwords Quality Score. Thus, a slow site = higher cost per click.
Page speed optimization isn’t walking the extra mile.
It is the need of the hour.
I have got tons of media on my site.
My website is code-heavy.
Will I have to do away with all that?
Fast load speeds don’t mean dull, drab, and basic websites. You could have all the bells and whistles on your site and still have it load in under 3 seconds.
This page speed optimization checklist right here.
Note: Solutions for some points on the checklist would require professional SEO services. Newbie webmasters shouldn’t attempt changing the backend codes and processes on their own.
Page Speed Optimization Checklist: Your Shortcut to Speed
- Keep Your Site Fast. Out of the Box – Fast Platform and Hosting
A website builder or CMS that is already optimized for fast load speeds would definitely be better than one that isn’t. If your website is built on an out of the box faster platform, your site would inherently load faster.
Also, your hosting service provider should have capabilities enough to sustain the amount of traffic on your site without compromising on speed. Check the bandwidth, storage, and uptime you’d be getting before committing to a hosting plan.
- Use a Content Delivery/Distribution Network (CDN)
Your website can get visitors from across the globe, right?
Now, it is logical that visitors located closer to your data centers will experience quicker load times. Those farther away will have longer wait times.
With CDN you can make use of dispersed data centers. This increases the page load speeds for visitors from different locations.
Your visitors from Russia won’t have to wait for the U.S. data centers to respond with information. They’d be served almost instantaneously by local data centers.
- Optimize Tracking With Google Tag Manager
Tracking is an important aspect of both SEO and SEM. Your digital marketing strategy is incomplete without proper tracking. And for that, you add different types of codes to your website.
All those codes increase the load time. (Obviously, because all that code has to be loaded individually). Your aim should be to minimize that code and reduce page load time.
Should I stop my tracking then?
Absolutely not. Use Google Tag Manager instead. With GTM, you can use one code to add tracking for multiple events and parameters.
- Fix Parser Blocking Scripts
It happens not because of the code itself, but how it is rendered. You need to get your IT team to fix these parser blocking scripts to streamline and optimize site load time.
- Use Pop-Ups Within Limits
Being able to view things with pop-ups without going to a new page, that’s fast, right?
Not exactly. The pages that use pop-ups have to pull up information from the original pages. This slows down the page loading process.
While you cannot just stop using all pop-ups, it is best you set limits on the usage. Remove all unnecessary pop-ups that can be replaced with quick-loading alternatives.
- Decrease The Size of Thumbnail Images
Got a carousel of best-selling products on your homepage?
A carousel of your latest completed projects?
The carousel shows thumbnails of actual images from the source, right?
That’s slowing down your site. Thumbnail images that are too big aren’t doing you any good. It is best to decrease their size to increase speed.
- Use Homepage Hero Slides With Caution
There is little that shows off your products on the homepage better than hero slides. But even four to five slides can significantly reduce your page load speed.
So it is best you use them sparingly and only when you absolutely need them.
- Compress and Optimize Images
This one’s probably the simplest and yet the most effective trick to optimize your page speed.
Compressed images load faster. And if you are using multiple images on your pages, it is best to optimize them using compression tools. Good compression tools also guarantee to keep image quality intact.
- Consider Removing Unused Plugins and Apps
If you don’t need the plugin or app, just get rid of it. If you added multiple plugins to try them out, make sure you delete the ones you don’t need.
Also, look for multipurpose plugins/apps instead of specialized ones for each functionality,
- Use Lite Embeds For Videos On Your Site
When you add a video to your page, by default, the entire video is loaded while the page is loading. This extends the page load time.
With lite embeds, you can have the video thumbnail displayed. And the complete video will load only when the visitor clicks on the thumbnail.
- Remove Unnecessary Code With Minification
Minification is the process of minimizing code by removing redundant or useless code blocks.
If your web development team isn’t already using minification, you are losing on rankings and conversions due to slow page load speed.
- Cut Down On Redirects
Yes, redirects are good to help pass on SEO and link juice from old pages to new. But they also take more time to load the final page. So, make sure you cut down on your redirects.
- Remove Broken Links
Broken links are useless. They come back empty-handed when fetched but still take load time. Use a broken link checking tool and fix all broken links at the earliest.
- Use Browser Caching Plugin
Your header, footer, logo, and some content remain the same across all pages, right? They don’t have to be loaded every time a visitor goes from one page to another.
Browser caching plugins like W3 Total Cache help load these faster by using browser cache.
- Combine Files Wherever Possible to Reduce HTTP Requests
Every file on your page needs a specific HTTP request to be fetched and loaded. More files obviously mean more HTTP requests and higher load times.
If you combine your files into one, it would require just a single HTTP request. This would translate into speedier page loading.
- Optimize The Rendering Process
How the page is rendered also affects the load time. If you make sure that your page renders text first and images and media files later, the time for the first meaningful look would come down. People can start reading till the time your images load.
- Enable Lazy Load
Similar to optimizing the rendering process, you can use lazy load to load images below the fold later, as they start to come into the view.
Lazy load plugins help load pages with too many images below the fold load faster.
- Test and Optimize Mobile Performance – With AMP
Google’s AMP tool is a savior when it comes to mobile load speeds. People expect web pages to load even faster on mobile than on desktop. (Within 2 seconds.)
Get Blazing Fast Page Load Speed Today
This checklist should point you in the direction of changes that your site needs to load in under 3 seconds.
But the actual implementation is going to need experts.
You can either try your hands at it (and risk blowing up some elements, if not your entire website).
Or you could get in touch with expert SEO agencies like Uplers for the job. The team of SEO and digital marketing veterans at Uplers will be as fast in fixing your site as you want your site to be while loading.
Their experience, skill, tact, and the arsenal of tools at their disposal will not just help get faster load speed but also quicker conversions. Contact them today to fast-forward your site’s load time and your journey to the top.